High Five

Lori McKenna is staying in Massachusetts

For the past few years, singer-songwriter Lori McKenna has been traveling to and from Nashville on a monthly basis to write songs for herself and other artists. Two of those songs got a major audience last Sunday night on the Academy of Country Music Awards. Little Big Town sang “Your Side of the Bed,” co-written by McKenna and the band, and Hunter Hayes played “I Want Crazy,” which she wrote with the young singer and Troy Verges. Although Music City regularly beckons, the Stoughton mother of five is staying put. Like Jonathan Richman, she’s in love with Massachusetts. So much so that the state’s name is the title of her terrific new album, out April 23. We rang McKenna up to ask about the five reasons she stays in Massachusetts.

1. My family. “I couldn’t live without my dad and my brothers and sisters, that’s definitely
No. 1.”

2. Dunkin’ Donuts. “Because it’s not everywhere.”


3. Town Spa Pizza in Stoughton “We have it, like, once a week. If you grow up on it, there’s some sort of addictive quality to it.”

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4. The Weather. “I actually like it. I like to drive in the snow every now and then. I don’t trust places with perfect weather.”

5. The community of musicians. “I know I’m not an expert since I’ve never lived anywhere else, but we have a tremendously nurturing environment here, a community that is so supportive. I never would’ve done this for a living if I’d stuck my neck out and started doing open mikes if people were not so helpful. It’s a really beautiful community, in all the genres, and if I lived somewhere else I would miss that.”

Sarah Rodman

“Massachusetts” is out April 23, and McKenna plays the Bull Run in Shirley on June 8.